Skip to main content
3:00 pm
3:01 pm
3:02 pm
3:03 pm
3:04 pm
3:05 pm
3:06 pm
3:07 pm
3:08 pm
3:09 pm
3:10 pm
3:11 pm
3:12 pm
3:13 pm
3:14 pm
3:15 pm
3:16 pm
3:17 pm
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
3:21 pm
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
3:24 pm
3:25 pm
3:26 pm
3:27 pm
3:28 pm
3:29 pm
announcer: the bare necessities of living healthy are easy. just eat right, be active, and have fun. yeah! go to to find out more.
3:30 pm
[captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation] >> coming up on "california country," learn how one woman is soaring with a sour fruit. >> they make everything taste a meyer lemon in tastes better because it has a meyer lemon in it. >> then it's a delta favorite. learn why these spears are so special and why they'll have you singing for your supper. >> [singing in italian] >> then it's time to stop and smell and eat the roses at this unique farm. it's all ahead, and it starts now.
3:31 pm
welcome to "california country." i'm your host, tracy sellers. we're in the bay area today, enjoying a sweet taste of success, and ironically it's all based on one sour little fruit. if you've never tried a meyer lemon, then you may just be in the minority these days. softer, juicier, and sweeter than your common household eureka lemon, the meyer has quickly built a devoted following and one that includes karen morss. she is the epitome of the statement "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade," but in her case, she took it a step further and made a lemon empire. it all started back in 2004, when zoning laws prohibited her from building on her backyard land, so she built an orchard instead, an orchard that was inspired by one famous lady. >> i love meyer lemons. i have always--from the very first time
3:32 pm
i tasted one, i thought it was the most wonderful thing i'd ever tasted. so i was looking at this big backyard full of weeds, and i thought, you know what? if martha is using--martha stewart is using meyer lemons, i bet you i could grow meyer lemons and sell them online. >> indeed, since martha stewart began using meyer lemons in the nineties, their notoriety has exploded. thin-skinned and slightly less acidic than other varieties, meyer lemons are known as backyard lemons because they're usually too fragile to ship, so therefore they're not often sold commercially. so when karen planted 40 trees in her backyard, she hoped to sell a few to neighbors and friends maybe, but nearly 6 years and 80,000 lemons harvested later, and the backyard fruit has turned karen's backyard into a full-time farming profession. welcome to the lemon ladies orchard in san mateo country. >> like all things in life, you have to love what you're doing. you have to be passionate about it. you have to care about
3:33 pm
it. you have to want to have a quality product. you have to wanna deliver a quality, uh--a quality product, something that--that people are delighted to receive. and i do all the deliveries. i mean, lemon ladies is not very big. th-this is lemon ladies. people think because it's plural that i have a whole crew of ladies working here. >> karen does have a few friends helping her, but for the most part, from picking to cleaning to packing to delivering, karen is the lady of lemon ladies orchard. she is a one-woman fruit fanatic that will convince anyone why meyer lemons are the best. >> they make everything taste better. everything that you put a meyer lemon in tastes better because it has a meyer lemon in it. this is a meyer that's really at its peak, and you can see the inside is much more
3:34 pm
orange-colored. and a meyer is a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon, which gives it its sweetness, and-- >> so you're saying this is sweet. >> as we get later and later into the season, it gets to be to the point where you're actually eating lemonade. >> it is sweet. it is sweet. >> but it's still a lemon. >> and as for the name, lemon ladies orchard, she says she had multiple reasons for dedicating her farm to the ladies. reason number one--because lemon trees are self-pollinating. they actually don't need male trees to reproduce. and reason number 2--because karen decided early on to name each tree after a lady that had affected her life for the better. and now it's karen that is affecting other ladies and gentlemen for the better by informing them about her beloved lemons, and that includes local chefs who pop by for a visit. >> i adore meyers, but i also thought since they're dwarfs, they were especially appropriate for me.
3:35 pm
>> [laughs] >> they don't get too big. i try to pick no lemon before its time, so when it gets to be-- >> yeah, how do you know when it's ready? >> the color. >> ok. >> you're looking for the-- the deepest orange color. it's a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon. >> karen is just a--a wonderful, wonderful person. she has such a kind soul, and, uh, she treats these lemons like they're each individual, like they're one of her children. and it's so wonderful to have somebody that appreciates that so much, what comes fro-from the earth. and we're an organic, seasonal restaurant, and so we really appreciate supporting the farmer. >> ursula gets to support farmers every night at the flea st. cafe in nearby menlo park. there, they try to honor their local hardworking artisan farmers like karen, who grow and produce nurturing, farm-fresh foods. along with desserts,
3:36 pm
the lemons show up in a variety of forms at the restaurant, including desserts, drinks, and even being fried for a fritto misto dish. yeah, i said, "fried." >> when you think about it, it's kind of strange, but when you eat it, it's so good. the connection. when you make that connection with the farmer, with, uh, growers, it's-- it makes for a different feeling when you're cooking. for me now, things taste different. they taste very different than they did before, fresh. that freshness, it's--it's the most important thing, and you know you hear "fresh" a lot, but this is fresh. ha! >> karen's farm continues to grow. she now ships all over the united states, and business is booming. the lemon ladies orchard begins and ends with one important lady, and if you haven't tried a meyer lemon yet, karen fully intends to change that.
3:37 pm
>> everybody is always so happy when you show up, uh, with the lemons. the smiles on everyone's faces. they're so happy to get them, and, uh--and it's--i can't think of any more fun way to be spending my time these days. >> brought to you by allied insurance, a member of the nationwide family of companies, which also includes nationwide insurance. on your side.
3:38 pm
3:39 pm
>> welcome back to "california country," the show that takes you on an all-expense-paid trip to experience the best-kept secrets of the golden state. >> asparagus thrives in many districts around california, and for 3 generations now, the nichols family has worked passionately to make victoria island farms in holt, just west of stockton, the largest grower of premium asparagus in california. >> this is what we're looking at. this has, uh, been harvested from the field behind me. it's, uh, beautiful-looking straight asparagus. nice big spears, straight,
3:40 pm
tight tips. uh, really, really nice, quality asparagus. >> the asparagus ferns gather energy and nutrients from the summer sun, then sit dormant in the fall and winter, but as soil temperatures warm in the spring, the asparagus crowns underground become active, and the bright-green stalks emerge, sometimes sprouting as much as 10 inches in one day. this growth spurt can be attributed to the san joaquin delta's formerly river-bottom soil. >> the delta peat soil is so fertile, uh, so light. it's an organic-based soil, and it really produces premium asparagus. and the stronger the crown underneath the soil, the healthier it is, the bigger the spear is. >> during peak season, 9 is the magic number. the loyal crews survey each row of asparagus, searching for those that are 9 inches, with tight tips, and therefore ripe for picking. >> well, our crews progress through the field harvesting the asparagus, the 9-inch asparagus
3:41 pm
that we're looking for, pile 'em up in windrows, and then, uh, tractors with our--with our, uh, boxes and bins on it come through, and they gather this up, place it in--gently place it into the bins, and we transport it to our packing facility where it's processed. we take it directly from the field, move it directly to our processing, packing facility, um, and then it is processed immediately. >> processing begins just a few minutes from the field. here the teams work in unison to prepare the day's harvest for quick shipment. first the stalks are sorted by size and length, then on through several wash cycles, quickly cooled, and sent to some of the favorite stores, where several different sizes may be available to choose from. >> we love to use all of the vegetables that are from around here. you know, we have a dish
3:42 pm
on thd menu with the fish and where we have asparagus on the side, saute in olive oil and garlic. [sizzling] >> here at palermo restaurant in elk grove, chef giovanni toccagino puts this herbaceous, homegrown spear to good use. >> we got the little plate, a little bit of oive oil. we can put some asparagus here, and we gonna create a nice appetizer dishes. we can only have a little bit, pinch salt. a little bit, pinch of pepper. now we gonna get some mozz--fresh mozzarella cheese. look that. and what do we do with this? we put 'em in the salamander, and we cook 'em perfectly, and we give 'em some good, good taste. we got it. look that. look how perfect that is. [sniffs] listen the smell. ahh.
3:43 pm
when i was gro-growin' up, a kid, asparagus was food for the rich people. yeah. the poor people, well, we--we eat any type of salad, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato. asparagus, like, used to be the banana. only rich people eat that, because delicacy. so now we all like here these days, we all can eat asparagus. >> hello, everyone. i'm glen ikeda from ikeda's in auburn. today we're gonna be talkin' about the triple as--asparagus, avocados, and artichokes. artichokes, 90% grown in the monterey county. we have different varieties of artichokes. one is the red artichoke, thornless. actually after you cook these artichokes,
3:44 pm
the red unfortunately disappears, but still a wonderful artichoke to eat. the most popular of the artichokes is the globe artichoke. the globe artichoke has the thorns, so be careful of the thorns, because when you pick these up, they can be lethal. how do you pick the perfect artichoke? you want the leaves to be tight around the globe, you want the stem to be large, and you want the artichoke to be definitely dark green. here in front of us, we have the asparagus that was picked before it comes out of the earth. therefore, we have the asparagus that have--doesn't have the nice purple-green color. and then we go into, when it comes out, 9-inch shoots. we have the asparagus, a large size and the standard size. lot of people wanna know how to pick the perfect asparagus spear. what i tell the customers and my wife and
3:45 pm
all my family is always look for the green spears, solid green spears all the way from tip to endtry to stay away from the lighter, whiter ends and bottoms and purple bottoms. last of the triple as is the avocado. the best way to pick these avocados is to find the dark color, nice, big size. but you know what? remember, we bruise easily, so don't squeeze us too hard. and always remember, buy ripe, buy local, and buy california. >> this segment is brought to you by the california farm bureau federation. from farm to feast. stay tuned for more of the tempting tastes of california.
3:46 pm
3:47 pm
>> welcome back. beyond the bustle of the big city is an undiscovered paradise called california country. >> here in san diego county, flowers are all around us to enjoy, to smell, and now even
3:48 pm
to eat. anyone who has received a bouquet of flowers will tell you the magnificent qualities about them aren't just limited to their awe-inspiring beauty or to their sweet floral scent. they can offer so much more. just ask john clemons, a flower farmer for more than 20 years now. you can step onto his farm in the town of jamul and think it looks similar to the other dozens of flower farms in san diego county. but look a little closer, and you'll discover a sweet surprise. >> in the mid-nineties, i was lookin' through a book, came across a recipe for crystallized violets, and i thought, hmm. egg whites, dip the flower in. throw it in sugar. roll it around. put it down. it dries, and you have something crunchy that's nonperishable. it's completely dried, and it's sugarcoated. i thought, "oh, my god. cold food side. they could use 'em on desserts. i've gotta figure out how to do this." >> imagine your favorite flowers turned into sugary tastes of
3:49 pm
heaven. that is exactly the idea that john set out to accomplish, to make a sweeter, better-tasting edible flower that he grew himself, the likes of which nobody had seen or heard of before, not even his girlfriend at the time, that is until their first date. >> i brought her a little tray of crystallized violas instead of the flowers, and we--when i met her, um, i remember walking up to her and said, "i brought you some flowers." >> john had talked about the farm, um, on the phone and when we had e-mailed and what he did, but when i actually saw it, i just went--[gasps] and i just thought, "oh, my god. these are way more beautiful then i had thought." and i just immediately knew i wanted--i wanted to be a part of that. >> i was a little nervous, 'cause she was hot. i thought, "oh, my god. i hope she likes me." [laughs] >> oh, she liked him, all right. she liked him enough to leave her home in new york and come to california to start an edible-flower business with him called sweetfields. and together
3:50 pm
with diane's daughter, the trio has successfully turned john's one-time hobby into a full-time job that even young chase is excited about. >> chase roams the hills. he collects all the rocks, he picks the flowers, and he screams, "no," from every greenhouse. [laughs] we all get along really good, and we all really have our niches, you know, and i come from the business background and managing things and, you know, kind of getting, you know, the business plans and everything together. my mom is really kind of the rah-rah, customer service, get out there, you know, mingle with our customers, and, um--and then john, this is john. so the farm, the productionif you could lock john in a room with some, you know, raw materials,
3:51 pm
some flowers, and he just wants to keep creating. >> and creating new edible ventures for his flowers is something john has no problem doing on his 33-acre farm, which acts like a canvas for this artist to go to work. all of the flowers here are grown organically inside greenhouses with nothing but sun, water, and soil helping them grow. to keep things fresh, after 5 months or so, rotates the soil out and puts new flowers in. from here, the flowers are either picked as edible flowers, or they are put through their patent-pending crystallization process. the flowers are put into a special solution that contains alcohol, which creates a barrier on the flower. from here, they are put in a salad spinner and placed on a rack to dry. then they are sprayed with a strawberry-scented spray and dusted with sugar. and by crystallizing them, the flowers are perfectly preserved and nonperishable. >> now we--we have violas,
3:52 pm
pansies, snapdragons, mini roses, rose petals. then you take all 5 flower varieties, and we have 4 patent-pending finishes, so you can get any flower with any finish. >> creating edible masterpieces is something karen krasne knows a thing or two about. she opened up her extraordinary desserts business in downtown san diego in 1988 to rave reviews and hasn't looked back since. she has built a reputation on making delicacies that are in fact anything but ordinary, and the exquisite flowers that sweetfields are producing are a natural fit for this dessert diva. >> it was very much in a long time ago to start putting them on wedding cakes, and so that was our spin with it. and then every year or so, we sort of develop another dessert that-- whether it's for valentine's or during the holidays or something where we can use one of their products, because it really enhances our product. so we take the beauty of our chocolate or our fruits, and we take natural flowers, and then by adding on a sugared flower, just the whole
3:53 pm
piece at that point takes a step up and becomes almost more of a gift item to someone rather than just a dessert. >> and the customers keep on coming. fans all across the state are logging on to the sweetfields website and snatching up these edible works of art, with costco just recently placing an order, too. so from the fields to fudge cakes, these farmers are proving that it is worth it to stop and smell the roses every once in a while, as long as you stop to eat them every once in a while, too. >> you know, the best part is, for me, in the morning when i get to the farm here, walking the greenhouses by myself. i love that. and then looking at what we've accomplished. >> you know, we do have something that is not on the market anywhere but with us. that's something. >> from farm to feast. stay
3:54 pm
tuned for more of the tempting tastes of california.
3:55 pm
>> welcome back to "california country." >> steve mcshane here, mcshane's
3:56 pm
nursery and landscape spot, also known as dr. dirt. has your soil got you sick? well, i might have the remedy. take a look at this medium, breathing with life. soil is where it all begins in the garden, teeming with microorganisms, as much as a billion per teaspoon. it's just marvelous. microorganisms are what bringing--breaking down that nutrients and making them plant-available. one of the most important things when talking about soil microbiology is temperature. i keep a soil thermometer in my garden, because when things get to 50 degrees or higher, microbial activity spikes, making those nutrients available. now, there's some things we can do to get microbes goin'. first one is kelp. second one is alfalfa. by adding either of these amendments to the soil, studies have shown populations spike. there's also some trace nitrogen. and knowing that microorganisms are feeding on organic matter, i recommend adding some every year. maybe an inch to the vegetable garden or under the drip line of a tree goes a long way. and if you're
3:57 pm
like most californians, you suffer from clay soils. this textural triangle here shows all the various clay and soil textures, clay being the most predominant, loam and clay loam being what plants really desire. so you've got clay soil, well, that same organic matter can go a long way when being added. it'll open up soil, allowing air and water penetration. you could also use gypsum as well. gypsum works like a bunch of tiny shovels, again opening up the soil. it's pretty critical. finally, i always like to talk about ph. measured from zero to 14, a ph of 7 is where plants want to be. it's where nutrients are available. if you've got a high ph, you can lower it by adding sulfur. if you've got a low ph, you can raise it by adding lime. so many critical pieces to soil, but i'll tell you. understand it, put it to work, and you'll see the results in the garden. >> that concludes today's tour of the best of "california
3:58 pm
country." join us next time for more undiscovered treasures from the most fascinating state in the country. [captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation] [captioned by the national captioning institute]
3:59 pm

Democracy Now
LINKTV November 13, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports. (CC) (Stereo)


TOPIC FREQUENCY California 14, Meyer 12, Karen 10, Us 4, Martha Stewart 2, John 2, Martha 1, Tracy 1, Karen Morss 1, Meyers 1, Valentine 1, Mcshane 1, Karen Krasne 1, Diane 1, Giovanni Toccagino 1, Glen Ikeda 1, United States 1, Victoria Island 1, San Joaquin Delta 1, Fritto Misto 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 01:00:00
Rating PG
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
In Collection
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 11/13/2012